Analysis

China-Australia relations likely to remain strong despite influence row

By Peter Jennings* Australia-China relations are by no means as fragile as some of Beijing’s local cheer squad would have you believe. That’s notwithstanding the ill-considered language used by the Chinese embassy this week, which said that reporting about Chinese influence-buying in Australia was “made up out of thin air and filled with Cold War mentality and ideological bias”, and that it “reflected a typical anti-China hysteria”.

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Reconsidering the way the US does strategy

Reconsidering the way the US does strategy

By John T. Kuehn: The ship of state that we call the United States is adrift at the political-strategic level or what some may call the grand strategic level. 24-hour news cycles, a president (and Congress) addicted to tweeting and posturing, an ambivalent and often ignorant public, and a complete failure by the national and sometimes international media to discern what is of value from what is pabulum has led to strategic gridlock in the foreign policy of the United States.

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World naval developments Nov 2017

World naval developments Nov 2017

By Norman Friedman* In October, General Dynamics announced that its Knifefish unmanned underwater vehicle, which is to be part of the mine countermeasures module of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), had successfully detected and identified floating, bottom, and buried mines. Mine identification has long been the great problem barring automated mine hunting. It is one thing to recognize a cylinder or a truncated cone sitting on the bottom, and quite another to identify the same object when it is covered in marine growth. Mine manufacturers know that; some mines have coverings intended specifically to encourage such camouflaging growth. Manufacturers of mine-hunting devices claim from time to time that increased computer power and learning mechanisms such as neural nets have solved the problem. Mines are cheap and easy to plant. At one time the solution was sweeping. For moored mines, that meant dragging something through the water to cut the mooring,…

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Lessons from loss of Argentine submarine

Lessons from loss of Argentine submarine

By W. Alejandro Sanchez*

The Argentine Navy’s submarine ARA San Juan (S-42) disappeared in the South Atlantic, off the coast of Argentina, on 15 November. At the time of this writing, a multinational effort is underway to locate the platform and its 44-person crew. This tragic accident has prompted a discussion in Argentina regarding whether the country’s armed forces are being allocated sufficient budgets to repair or replace aging equipment. Additionally, the San Juan incident must be placed in a wider discussion about civil-military relations, defense budgets, and the present and future of South American submarines.

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Promises of UK military Indo-Pacific presence in doubt

Promises of UK military Indo-Pacific presence in doubt

By James Goldrick*
This is an edited extract of a speech delivered to open the Australia-UK Asia Dialogue, co-hosted by the Lowy Institute and Ditchley Foundation, and supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Whether or not Brexit was a wise move for the United Kingdom, British efforts in the aftermath to push the case for a ‘Global Britain’ are both sensible and inevitable. Britain is right to remind itself and others that it remains, among other things, the world’s fifth largest economy, a member of the UN Security Council and of the nuclear club, and a significant player in many global activities. An increased British diplomatic and economic presence within the Indo-Pacific is a welcome development. But the accompanying promises of greater military engagement in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere do not ring true.

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US military technical advantage ‘is eroding’

US military technical advantage ‘is eroding’

By Brendan Thomas-Noone*
America’s military-technological advantage, an aspect of its strategic power since the end of the Cold War, is eroding. In response, the Pentagon launched the third offset strategy in 2014—a department-wide effort to find new ways, both technological and institutional, to leap ahead of its competitors. In a new report for the United States Studies Centre, I argue that for the US the third offset is partly an answer to matching its stagnating defence budget with its strategic ambitions.

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Foreign affairs: Need to bring public along

By Allan Gyngell* Everything Australia wants to do as a country depends on its ability to understand the rest of the world. To that end, governments can, have and should lead public opinion. I’m not pretending foreign policy can compete with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for the front pages, but every piece of additional coverage is worthwhile. Because, as we make our way through what the Foreign Policy White Paper calls our ‘contested world’, it will be vital to bring the Australian public along.

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